Ankara is flexing its military muscle in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in an apparent effort to torpedo efforts to proceed with the construction of the EastMed pipeline by imposing its own maps and pushing its expansionist theory of the “Blue Motherland” at sea.

Cypriot government sources have revealed to Cyprus’ Sigma television that three Turkish warships – two frigates and a corvette – are in the area southwest of Cyprus in order to block the Nautical Geo research vessel.

The warships are essentially occupying an area of Cyprus’ EEZ for which Nicosia issued a NAVTEX days ago. The vessel was conducting research in the same area until recently.

Ankara’s escalation coincided with yesterday’s Greek-Turkish exploratory talks in Ankara

The Nautical Geo – which is conducting research at the behest of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel – has anchored four nautical miles off the port of Larnaca.

Ankara is invoking a NAVTEX it illegally issued in order to conduct military exercises in the area which, however, it has not commenced.

“Evnomia” Greece-France-Italy military manoeuvres

Meanwhile, not far from the area in which the Turkish warships are stationed Greece, France, and Italy are conducting joint air and sea military exercises.

In response to Turkey’s illegal NAVTEX, Greek and French warplanes on 5 October flew over the area that it covered.

After being harassed by a Turkish frigate off the coast of Crete, the Nautical Geo arrived in Cyprus’ EEZ on 28 September and began its research in the area.

Meanwhile, on two October the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis arrived in the same area, accompanied by Turkish warships, one of which threatened the Nautical Geo, which then withdrew from the area.

Oruc Reis operated unhindered

Consequently, on 2 October and the following day the Oruc Reis operated in the area unhindered.

According to the latest information, the Oruc Reis has docked in the Turkish port of Antalya, but Ankara’s three warships remain in place.

The Republic of Cyprus has for days been monitoring Turkey’s moves and has responded with charges on the diplomatic level.

EastMed situation overshadows Greek-Turkish talks

The unsettling situation in the Eastern Mediterranean overshadowed yesterday’s Greek-Turkish exploratory talks in Ankara and further dashed hopes of reaching points of convergence on various critical issues.

The two delegations discussed the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

A key obstacle is Ankara’s demand for the demilitarisation of the Greek islands that are near the Turkish coast.

The talks are scheduled to resume in six months in Athens.

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